Our work focuses on youth-friendly health services, access to health and care information and knowledge, attitudes and practices towards keeping healthy
Why young people?
Investing in young people’s health during adolescence is critical. This age marks the beginning of risk-taking behaviour, the start of a sexual life, and a time when life-long health behaviours are set in place. In order for young people to make informed choices, they need to have access to timely and appropriate help and support
Our focus areas
In 2015, we worked with the young people's sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook, to listen to young people’s experiences of using health and care services. Among the challenges discussed, young people talked about the lack of visibility of services and health education and the fear of judgement attached to accessing mental health and sexual health services. Based on their feedback, we are undertaking small projects to learn where we can best make a difference. To date, we’ve looked at youth-friendly health services; access to health and care information and young people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices towards keeping healthy.
In collaboration with Year 12 and 13 students from La Retraite Catholic Girls’ School, we’ve completed an Enter and View visit to assess the youth-friendliness of paediatric services at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The overall feeling was that the areas we visited were more child friendly than young people friendly in terms of décor, entertainment and information provision. Adolescent patients reported very few issues with the care they received.
Access to health and care information
Following our visit to King’s College Hospital focussing on youth-friendly services, our Enter and View volunteers identified a lack of information about adolescent health issues and local services available in their school premises. We will be working with students at La Retraite Catholic Girls’ School to undertake an information audit of the school, where we will assess the school environment for available health information and speak to a sample of students to understand what they know about looking after themselves and how this could be improved.
Knowledge, attitudes and practice
We interviewed young people over July – October 2016 to understand how they look after their health (sexual, mental, and physical). We found that young people’s knowledge of sexual health, particularly around sexually transmitted infections, when to get tested and where testing was available, was poor. Also, possibly because the majority of interviewees attended the Marcus Lipton youth club in Loughborough, several young people also described anxieties and worries related to local gang activity.